Lancashire Mum calling for more funding after daughter died of a brain tumour

Video: Alison Mackenzie, ITV News Political Correspondent

The mum of a woman from Lancashire who died from a brain tumour has handed over a petition to Downing Street calling for increased Government funding into the devastating disease.

Nicola Nuttall, along with other campaigners, are calling for more investment and research into brain cancer.

Brain tumour campaigners including Nicola Nuttall handing in a petition to 10 Downing Street, London, calling for more research. Credit: PA

Nicola, whose daughter Laura was just 23 when she died in May last year, said that her daughter would want her to campaign for change:

"Today's really important. We have 80,000 signatures behind us and we're going to press the point that this is a cancer that has been left behind.

There have been step changes with things like breast cancer and Leukaemia and we've seen the survival rates rise exponentially yet brain cancer hasn't changed at all in decades.

That rising tide isn't lifting all boats and we just feel passionately that now is the time that things have to change."

Laura, from Barrowford, was diagnosed with brain cancer in autumn 2018 following a routine eye test.

Nicola Nuttall, seen here with Laura and family, handed over a petition to Downing Street calling for more funding into the disease.

She was initially told by medics that she would have 12 months to live and dropped out of university in London and underwent an operation to remove the largest of eight tumours.

But in September 2019 she was able to resume her studies closer to home at the University of Manchester and completed a number of items on her bucket list before she died, including completing her degree, meeting Michelle Obama, piloting a Royal Navy patrol boat and presenting a television weather bulletin.

Nicola says campaigning for change is what Laura wanted - so that in the future other families don’t have to endure the same devastation

In August 2021, Bolton comedian Peter Kay made his return to the stage to raise money for Laura's treatment.

" We fought really hard for Laura and we got four-and-a-half years when her prognosis was 12 months. And we did that by finding alternative treatments outside of the UK but they should be open to everyone .

You shouldn't have to fundraise you shouldn't have to need Peter Kay to do a concert for you to be able to afford these things and we just want the options that Laura had to be available for everyone else.

People that follow us are still being told there have been no new treatments for 20 years and I don't want that to be still the case in five or ten years time."

"Laura was passionate about raising awareness and finding a cure."

“It broke her heart every time she heard of another young person diagnosed with a brain tumour; it’s eight months since we lost our beautiful daughter, we miss her every minute of every day but I know campaigning for change is what she wanted us to do, so that in the future other families don’t have to endure the same devastation that we have.”

Brain Tumour petition for more funding for research Credit: ITV

At Downing Street Nicola Nuttall was joined by Antiques Roadshow expert Theo Burrell, who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) in June 2022, and Danny Clarke from the BBC’s The Instant Gardener, whose sister Margot McLellan died from GBM.

Ms Burrell said: “Being told you have an aggressive brain tumour is absolutely terrifying.

"I visited multiple doctors with awful migraines, prolonged sickness and problems with my sight.

"No-one knew what was wrong and when I finally had a scan, I was told I had brain cancer and, without surgery, had just three months to live.

"I am frustrated it took so long to get my diagnosis; we need to change that and it’s vital the Government invests more money in research in order to improve treatments in future and, ultimately, to find a cure.

"The voices of more than 80,000 people cannot be ignored.”

Dan Knowles, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “Today we are calling on the Government to ring-fence £110 million of current and new funding to kick-start an increase in the national investment in brain tumour research to £35 million a year by 2028.”

Laura was passionate about raising awareness and finding a cure. The petition calling for change has been signed by more than 80,000 people.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Brain cancer is a devastating disease, which is why we’ve made £40 million available for research projects specifically looking for new treatments and therapies to tackle this illness.

"We’re investing in research infrastructure, workshops and training for clinicians to further progress developments in this field.

"And we continue to encourage further applications for research funding from successful candidates through the National Institute for Health and Care Research.”

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